World Series, World Champion Basketball team what do these words have in common? Two things, first the word world is in them, second is that they signify two of the biggest championship titles in the United States. What is wrong with these two names is that the teams in these leagues, the MLB and NBA respectively, do not play against every country in the world but rather just North America. Yes there are players from around the world in each league, MLB has mostly Dominican Republic, Puerto Rican, Canadian, and some African players on teams in their league. The NBA has Europeans, Africans, Americans, Canadians, Russians, Chinese, Japanese, many different ethnicities. But neither of these teams have a team outside of North America. Yes both leagues have teams in Canada but no other country, MLB plays games in the winter in the Dominican but no official team is there.
How do we fix this? There are two easy solutions to choose from, change the name or what they are referring too or play other teams from other countries. We will start with the first one, this strategy mainly applies to NBA teams and commentators. When talking about the NBA Finals or who the champion for the previous year was most fans say “Did you see the Warriors won the NBA Finals last night?” or “How many NBA Championships have the Lakers won?” Never have i heard a fan say the words “World Basketball Champion” uttered when talking about Champions in the NBA. Where it is heard is from the commentators when they are covering the NBA Finals. Listen to the broadcast when the NBA Finals concluded for recent years, you will hear the commentator say “The (insert NBA Finals Winner here) are the new world champions”. I think that this is completely wrong because like I stated before they dont play other countries. So to remedy this I propose that NBA commentators change the way they talk about the Finals and the champion. For example they could call the Champions the most obvious NBA champions and just eliminate the words “World Champions” from their vocabulary. Or come up with something original for the name of the whole playoffs, the NHL has the Stanley Cup why couldn’t they come up with something original like that? Obviously the trophy is called the Larry O’Brien but the playoffs are just bland and need a new name. Maybe something incorporating a NBA great such as Michael Jordan, Bill Russell, Hakeem Olajuwon for example. These names are some of the bigger names in NBA and Finals History. You cannot bring up Finals history without bringing up Jordan and his three-peat, or Russell and his record 11 championship rings, and Hakeem was one of the best players in the ABA when they played the NBA every year in the Finals.
Now on to the second option, playing against other countries. MLB already does this sort of every 4 years. It is called the World Baseball Classic, there are 16 countries in this tournament but this is more like the little league world series where the best from each country are selected and play on their team. But that is not always the roster of the team that won the MLB Finals, Paul Goldshmidt is a great example this year,he is easily one of the best players and first basemen in the MLB but the team around him did not help him out enough to get to the playoffs. Am I saying that if he was on any other team he could take them to the playoffs? No. Im also not saying that at any given point in the season that he is head and shoulders above any other first basemen in the league. Rather I am saying that if the MLB is going to keep the World Series name they need to make the teams earn it. Obviously the team that wins it wont want to play more games after they have won the championship but I have an idea to fix that. Every year spring training is a way to get players ready for the season and get a idea of what your organization looks like going into next season. What if the team that won it the year before, for example the San Fransisco Giants, played a short World Baseball Classic in place of Spring Training. You are probably wondering “How can they do that if they are suppose to be getting ready for the upcoming season?” Heres how: the winning team, Giants, fields a team of 40 guys, the reason for 40 is so they have more players than just a normal 25 man roster for expanded pitching rotation and in case of injuries. But they can only activate 25 for each game, the 40 man roster can not change unless of high injury severity. Now other teams from around the world meet and play a 16 seed tournament based on last season’s tournament, for the first one it is based on World Baseball Classic results. This would include best of 5 series all the way through in a neutral location such as the South America that doesn’t have a representative in the games. These games would take place during the time of Spring Training and would just replace the experience of Spring Training.
Now what to do about the team being lost in spring training. That team can be filled be the prospects that the team thinks is close to MLB ready or just prospects that they want to get some experience. Also this team can be filled with some veteran free agents, obviously this has to have some stipulations for the veterans, mostly this would be a try out for veterans to see if they can get a spot on a team. None of these players are signed to a contract but can be signed by that team if so desired. Basically this would be a way for veterans that are unsigned to get some work in and not go into the season looking for work and not physically ready for the season. This team would be managed by whomever the winning GM wants, say that their is a former player that is thought to be a great future manager this could give him some experience and get clubs to look at him in the future. Hopefully this would make the early-to-mid season additions of these players would be helpful and also not push a prospect to the majors when he is not ready, possibly hurting their ability to play at that level in the future. This idea has a lot of upside and has a ability to be great, I would absolutely love for this to happen as it has almost no downside.
I really enjoy brainstorming things like these and hopefully will have more in the future. Look for my other thoughts on how to fix sports and sporting concepts in the future.